Mar 23, 2012, 6:04 PM EST
Mark Gottfried really can’t lose tonight. Even if N.C. State’s NCAA tournament run ends in the Sweet 16 tonight, there’s no doubt he’s fully and completely embraced by his players, Wolfpack fans and his boss, athletic director Debbie Yow.
The regular season had some ups and downs – State is 24-12 and didn’t beat UNC or Duke – but last week’s wins against San Diego State and Georgetown showcased a team that’s peaking and playing together perfectly.
That’s a credit to Gottfried.
“He’s a survivor,” Yow told the Fayetteville Observer. “He balances that voice of experience with this youthful energy and enthusiasm that nothing is impossible. He puts those two traits together, you get a pretty special person and a very special coach. He’s a leader; you can see that the players follow him. They trust him.”
How’d he do it?
“It’s my job to convince my team that we are good enough,” Gottfried told the paper. “We have to become good enough. It’s not smoke and mirrors. It’s not something you can just talk about. We have to get better, and we did get better.”
Friday night’s game against 2-seed Kansas could end that run. The Wolfpack are 8.5-point underdogs. But the future’s bright when you’ve got a coach in hand that starts like this.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
- Bubble Banter: Just how safe is Michigan State, and did Ohio State punch a ticket? 2
- Report: Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy 13
- Wednesday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky moves to 28-0, Northwestern knocks off Indiana 0
- Duke’s defense once again an issue as they get taken to overtime by Virginia Tech 4
- Bubble Banter: Wild night in the Atlantic 10, Indiana in trouble? 0
- Wisconsin’s loss to Maryland a massive blow, but not for the reasons you think 4
- Bubble Banter: N.C. State lands a critical win, Texas loses … again 2
- Report: Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy (13)
- Bill Self crushed, Jamari Traylor targeted during Kansas State court storm (VIDEO) (12)
- Roy Williams calls out North Carolina fans following win over Georgia Tech (11)
- Dez Wells, Melo Trimble lead No. 14 Maryland to upset of No. 5 Wisconsin (9)
- Is Ohio State asking too much of freshman sensation D’Angelo Russell? (8)